Where to dive in September? 4 must-see destinations

by Kathryn Curzon

It’s liveaboard transition season in September, which can make it tricky to find the right destination. This month we’re sharing our hidden gems and well-kept secret destinations that make September an unmissable month for diving.

Rowley Shoals, Northwestern Australia

If diving pristine coral reefs is your idea of the perfect liveaboard safari, don’t miss Australia’s hidden gem; Rowley Shoals. This unique destination’s dive season is very short, starting in September, making it our top choice this month.

These three coral atolls south of the Timor Sea, around 300km off Broome, are remote and dived by fewer than 200 people per year. Rising up from 400m deep, they are a haven for reef and pelagic life and offer incredible diving.

Each atoll covers around 90 square kilometers and they host around 200 coral species and over 650 species of fish, many of which are not found closer to shore.

Washed by a huge 5-meter tidal range, the atoll lagoons are teeming with reef life and dotted with coral bommies. They offer perfect conditions for easy snorkelling and diving.

You can also enjoy exciting drift dives and drift snorkelling into and out of the atolls, as well wall diving with schools of mackerel, tuna, trevallies and sharks.

Don’t miss the Aquarium for vibrant coral diving and the Rollercoaster for thrilling drift diving through the Clerke reef channel at high speed. You won’t forget that experience in a hurry.

The Odyssey is one of the few liveaboards that visit Rowley Shoals and is a popular choice for divers.

Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia

Sticking with the Australian Liveaboard diving, scene, Ningaloo Reef is also well worth diving in September. It’s humpback whale season and this is one of the few places in the world you can swim with them.

Ningaloo Reef is Australia’s largest fringing reef, stretching along the UNESCO-listed Ningaloo Coast for 260km. It is an important migratory route for manta rays, dugong, dolphins and humpback whales, and a sea turtle nesting area.

Dive Ningaloo in September and you can enjoy exploring the vibrant reef system and swimming with humpback whales, as well as graceful manta rays, turtles and dolphins. Tens of thousands of humpbacks migrate to Ningaloo from July to November each year to breed and calve. You can watch their mating display, listen to their evocative song and get in the water with mothers and young calves.

The Shore Thing liveaboard is a great option for Ningaloo diving as this small catamaran caters to just 10 guests and offers 3 to 9-night dive safaris; perfect for a more intimate humpback experience.

Cenderawasih Bay, Indonesia

Another relatively hidden gem, Cenderawasih Bay in Indonesia is at its finest in September. Whilst other areas of Indonesia are hit by strong trade winds from June, Cenderawasih is the place to go for shelter and diving with whale sharks.

All along Kwatisore Bay in Cenderawasih, fishermen use traditional fishing platforms and have always given the whale sharks part of their catch.

This long-standing relationship has resulted in whale sharks that are completely at ease with snorkellers and divers, allowing you to get close and capture perfect photographs of these huge sharks.

As well as sharks, Cenderawasih also has a range of WWII wrecks strewn across the bay. You can find all sorts of WWII artefacts and the wrecks are home to numerous critters, as well as sharks, groupers and moray eels.

There are a limited number of liveaboards that visit Cenderawasih Bay. The Calico Jack is one of them.

Egypt’s Red Sea

This ever-popular dive destination has great dive conditions and plenty of marine life in September, making it one of the best months to dive Egypt.

It’s not too hot in Egypt during September and the waters are calm, making it a comfortable liveaboard destination this month with dives for every experience level.

Visit the Ras Mohammed National Park and you can dive colourful reefs full of soft corals and reef fish, as well as experience drift diving over the famed Shark and Yolanda reef with its ‘toilet wreck’ debris.

The north side of Jackson reef in the Straits of Tiran is another Egypt highlight in September. This reef hosts schools of scalloped hammerheads at this time of year, and there is also some shark action in southern Egypt.

Abu Nuhas, the ‘ships graveyard’, is not to be missed if you’re a wreck fan. This submerged reef in the northern Red Sea is famed for its wrecks; the Giannis D, Kimon M, Chrisoula K and Rosalie Moller.

It is also home to the oldest shipwreck accessible to divers in the Red Sea – the 1869 Carnatic.

There are a variety of Egypt liveaboards to choose from. The Dreams liveaboard is a good option for reef and wreck northern safaris, whilst the Grand Sea Serpent offers southern safaris.

This article was written by divers and writers at LiveAboard.com